Apple may have to allow users to install apps from outside the App Store under legislation recently unveiled by the European Union.
That requirement was included in the initial proposal for the Mass Digital Markets Act, or DMA, which is one step closer to being signed into law this week. An EU spokesperson confirmed that the item was still included.
European Commission spokesman Johannes Bahrik said: “We believe that the owner of a smartphone should have the freedom to choose how to use it.
“This freedom includes the ability to choose alternative sources of applications through your smartphone,” he added. With DMA, the smartphone owner is still able to enjoy safe and secure services of the virtual app store via their smartphone. Furthermore, if the user chooses to, DMA allows the smartphone owner to choose other secure app stores as well.
In addition to allowing third-party stores across its platform, Apple also has to allow users to install apps from third-party sources (a practice known as sideloading) and allow developers to use the App Store without using Apple’s payment systems.
The DMA has not yet been voted into law by the European Parliament. But it is expected to be approved without much hassle.
This could mean that the DMA will go into effect as early as October of this year. EU member states are then able to choose how EU law is interpreted in national law.
Apple worried about DMA
Apple in the past has strongly objected to sideloading on the iPhone, arguing that it would jeopardize the security of its platform.
Allowing sideloading would weaken the security of the iOS platform, said a report from the company last year. It also exposes users to serious security risks in third-party app stores and the App Store.
While Tim Cook said that sideloading would destroy the security of the iPhone.
Although the Mac has long allowed users to download apps outside of the official Apple Store. But the company said that this approach is not appropriate on the iPhone because these devices carry more sensitive information.
There are many ways in which users can sideload apps via the iPhone. And AltStore installs an entire third-party app store on your iPhone.
Apple’s Enterprise Applications program also allows businesses to download custom applications. TestFlight is often used by developers to distribute apps that are not fully approved within the App Store.
The European Union believes Apple’s concerns can be mitigated by putting the choice in the hands of users, allowing them to choose from their device’s settings and decide where they prefer to install apps.
Google offers a similar option via Android, which the user must turn on manually to download apps from third-party sources.